NEW YORK – Public access television is making technological advances and the lineups are garnering more respect, but there are still plenty of shows that catch the "anything goes" spirit of public TV.
Here are a few choice programs airing on public access channels around the country:
On Chicago's CAN TV, a long-nosed puppet named Ratso and his flesh-and-blood partner Miss Mia host Chic-A-Go-Go — a wacky show where lip-syncing is theatre. Singers ranging from R&B classic Milt Trenier to punk group The Mentally Ill lip-sync their own tunes while guests get their groove on. This dance party is a motley crew, varying from cross-dressers to clowns on stilts to grandmas bopping to the beat with their grandkids.
For women who love the vroom of a properly tuned engine Chicks Can Fix Cars Too is a must-see on People TV in Atlanta. Hostess Velencia Goodman turned her greasemonkey hobby into a television show. Shot solely on location, Goodman travels to various garages to chat with female mechanics and let them show off their skills.
For computer geeks Tech Support comes to the rescue on People TV. Callers phone in with computer questions, and the expert hosts work with them live on the air to solve their techy troubles.
And finally, David Letterman may have a challenger coming out of Raleigh, N.C.
John Roberts, the 16-year-old host of Community Television's The Big Bad Show, sits behind a desk with a big microphone and mixes his panel of guests — usually his peers — with wacky segments he films on the streets.
On one show he rolled footage of a trip he took to Washington, D.C., where he approached a variety of people to find out what they thought of Cheese Whiz, and later did some break dancing in front of the White House, getting bemused reactions all around.